|Polk County Enterprise - Local News
Stories Added - February 2009
Copyright 2008 - Polk County Publishing Company
Escaped trash fire threatens homes in Leggett Sunday
Polk County Enterprise - February 2009
COLLEGE STATION — The Texas Forest Service (TFS) is urging citizens across the state to be aware of heightened wildfi re danger due to a low pressure front that will drop humidity levels and produce high winds. That advisory wasn’t news for the Polk County fi re departments. Livingston, Onalaska and Scenic Loop fi refi ghters spent most of Sunday afternoon working to prevent eight to 10 houses in the area from an escaped trash fi re. Roy Sanders, LVFD’s second assistant chief, said a Leggett resident was burning trash on Mabank off 1 Such Road and Fagan Farm Road and it spread to the wooded area nearby. LVFD sent fi ve trucks and 12 fi refi ghters and they were joined by three trucks and fi ve fi refi ghters from Onalaska and Scenic Loop sent one truck and three men. “We tried to surround it, but we didn’t have enough hose,” Sanders said. “It had gone too far.” So the Polk County departments fell back to protect several houses back in the woods and summoned help from TFS. The crew based in Livingston had been called to a wildfi re in San Jacinto and Montgomery counties, so a Tyler County crew was dispatched to the Leggett fire. None of the trucks used by the various VFDs could navigate in the heavily wooded area so they waited for the TFS dozer and kept the fire from moving too near houses. LVFD records show the fire was reported at 2:51 p.m. Sunday and firefighters cleared the scene at 5:30 p.m. Sanders urged Polk County residents to delay any outdoor burning if possible until the area gets substantial rain. No outdoor burning is permitted at all inside the City of Livingston. If rural residents much burn, Sanders said property owners should be sure to stay with the fire and have a ready supply of water to make sure the fire is safely contained. “It won’t take but sone spark to really get something going,” Sanders said. Tom Spencer, TFS predictive services department head, said these conditions could lead to wildfires that spread quickly, pose containment problems and endanger public safety. Though the state saw some precipitation earlier this week, prolonged drought conditions have not improved. In fact, the freezing temperatures only caused droughtcured grasses to become even drier. TFS Predictive Services Department forecasts that through the month of February, fuels, such as grasses and trees, are expected to remain critically dry. Over the past seven days, TFS has responded to five wildfires for 371 acres. According to an online database managed by TFS, fire departments have reported 163 wildfires for 7,899 since last Friday. For more information on fire advisories and area conditions, go to http://texasforestservice.tamu. edu and click on Fire Danger/ Advisories.